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PAD AND GANDALF

  

   After Pad and Gandalf were released from prison, they started up a

   free security advisory service on the Internet. One reason they began

   releasing 8lgm advisories, as they were known, was to help admins

   secure their own systems. The other reason was to thumb their noses at

   the conservatives in the security industry.

  

   Many on the Internet considered the 8lgm advisories to be the best

   available at the time--far better than anything CERT had ever

   produced. Pad and Gandalf were sending their own message back to the

   establishment. The message, though never openly stated, was something

   like this: `You busted us. You sent us to prison. But it didn't

   matter. You can't keep information like this secret. Further, we are

   still better than you ever were and, to prove it, we are going to beat

   you at your own game.'

  

   Believing that the best way to keep a hacker out of your system is to

   secure it properly in the first place, the two British hackers

   rejected security gurus who refused to tell the world about new

   security holes. Their 8lgm advisories began marginalising the

   traditional industry security reports, and helped to push the industry

   toward its current, more open attitude.

  

   Pad and Gandalf now both work, doing computer programming jobs on

   contract, sometimes for financial institutions. Their clients like

   them and value their work. Both have steady girlfriends.

  

   Pad doesn't hack any more. The reason isn't the risk of getting caught

   or the threat of prison. He has stopped hacking because he has

   realised what a headache it is for a system administrator to clean up

   his or her computer after an attack. Searching through logs. Looking

   for backdoors the hacker might have left behind. The hours, the

   hassle, the pressure--he thinks it is wrong to put anyone through

   that. Pad understands far better now how much strain a hacker

   intrusion can cause another human being.

  

   There is another reason Pad has given up hacking: he has simply

   outgrown the desire. He says that he has better things to do with his

   time. Computers are a way for him to earn a living, not a way to spend

   his leisure time. After a trip overseas he decided that real

   travel--not its electronic cousin--was more interesting than hacking.

   He has also learned to play the guitar, something he believes he would

   have done years ago if he hadn't spent so much time hacking.

  

   Gandalf shares Pad's interest in travelling. One reason they like

   contract work is because it lets them work hard for six months, save

   some money, and then take a few months off. The aim of both ex-hackers

   for now is simply to sling backpacks over their shoulders and bounce

   around the globe.

  

   Pad still thinks that Britain takes hacking far too seriously and he

   is considering moving overseas permanently. The 8lgm court case made

   him wonder about the people in power in Britain--the politicians, the

   judges, the law enforcement officers. He often thinks: what kind of

   people are running this show?